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US-Pak Relations in Historical Perspective

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With the changing geostrategic Situation and after the Twitter blitz, Donald Trump turns to Pakistan to get rid of Afghan Mess and seeking help from Islamabad to influence the Taliban by bringing them to the negotiating table. The Russia Peace Talks with the participation of the stakeholders along with Insurgent Taliban leadership and Afghanistan Peace Council Delegation held talks in Moscow to reach an agreement but the talks, unfortunately, did not bear any fruit.

US-Pakistan relations have always been overcast with mistrust but this time, the onus has been felt and new terms of engagement have surfaced with New Government of Pakistan. Imran Khan in his exclusive interview With the Washington Post has made it clear that Pakistan is not hired Gun and will not fight anyone’s war.

 The Peace in Afghanistan is in favour of Pakistan and welcomed the letter by giving a positive response to Trump’s request. The Foreign Office will draft the reply to the letter and will present to Prime Minister Imran Khan for approval.

The analysts and political pundits have termed the development as positive and this time the Trump administration seems to be serious in engagement with Pakistan. The incoming US central command Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie has also said that he will engage with Pakistan on priority basis  as directed by the US  president to him since the US wants to come in direct talks with the insurgent Taliban and bring them to negotiating table to devise a sharable government plan and the possible amendments in the Afghan Constitution.

 With Kartarpur Corridor opening to facilitate the Sikh Pilgrims of India and the recent paradigm shift in US-Pakistan Relations  are being termed as watershed moments for both Pakistan and US to work together to bring Normalcy in Afghanistan Since both US and Pakistan has suffered a lot in so-called War on terror and Pakistan has done a lot more than expected as US Ally . 

Pakistan facilitated the US by giving her ground, Air and communication channels that played a vital role as a close ally in post 9/11 arena and the US bid for regime change in Afghanistan.   Pakistan has laid down unprecedented sacrifices of  Civil and Military sacrifices in thousands and what Pakistan is facing today in terms of Economic crisis that is because of being a close ally of US in  War on terror and have significantly lost its Investment and Trade opportunities at the helm of America. 

Donald Trump’s so-called irresponsible Twitter Tirade against Pakistan blaming that despite paying millions of Rupees in security aid, Pakistan has deceived the US or did not do the damn thing ,has stirred widespread criticism since the World Community is well aware that

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Pakistan Suffered a lot being a US ally and that is the mistrust that has become the Stalemate between US-Pak relations and the ambiguities that have stalled the diplomatic relations. 

With increasing US alignment towards India and signing various trade agreement with Modi Regime ,Trump Administration has also created the sense of disappointment in the circles of Civil and Military leadership of Pakistan that despite making us a scapegoat and used as the hired gun –the salt is being rubbed on our wounds by favouring our arch-rivals  since we have lost our near and dear ones in various terrorist activities infiltrated from Afghanistan and the India patronizing the Separatist movements in the province of Baluchistan.

The Indian spy captured from Baluchistan province, Kalbhushan Yadav, had publically confessed that how Indian Secret Agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) carried out various terrorist activities within Pakistan to bring instability through terrorism.

The US might have been advised by various think-tanks and Influencing bodies of political and diplomatic circles  that an ally who fought the war on terror as an important ally of US  and still bearing the brunt of Terrorist attacks -be it Army Public School attack, the attacks on various Shrine, Shia-Sunni Sectarian killings patronized by international forces, is left out when it comes the development option or trade relations or when Pakistan needed US support to fix its balance of Payments Issue  .

Instead of giving support, US withheld a huge chunk of security aid and even tried to influence the International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to offer any bailout package as the same may be used to repay Chinese loans. Thanks to Saudis and China helping Pakistan to fix the issue of balance payments that alignment towards alternative powers might have prompted the US to change its stance.

Pakistan has always responded in positive gesture and has been overburdened with Afghan Refugees influx caused by US air Strikes on Afghanistan for regime change, Dismantling AlQaida and nabbing the Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan has the majority of Afghan refugees in KPK and Sindh province and often found involved in terrorist links or activities as Pakistan Army and Rangers conducted various anti-terrorism operations under the National Action Plan in FATA and KPK to cleanse the terrorist elements and so far, achieved tremendous success in eradication of Terrorism and restoring  peace in the country.

On the other hand, US has always demanded from Pakistan to do more that is really disappointing and hurting. Despite all these odds, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership appears to be on the same page and ready to engage with the US on revised terms of engagement for the sake of peace.

Both Pakistan and the US have suffered losses, now, it is the time that they should serve the common interests of each other.Pakistan can  play  a key role in the Afghan peace process since this time ,the regional powers of Asia such as Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Turkey and US  intend to resolve the issue through dialogue as  American have failed in bringing peace despite  their  presence in Afghanistan and have been waging war for the last 17 years   . 

This is perhaps one of the longest wars they have fought and apparently, they are losing the ground since the Taliban seem to be much organized and have become a party for talks rather than an insurgent group. They have control of various provinces and possess great influence in its controlled areas.

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The Afghan Peace process will never succeed unless all the stakeholders are taken on board especially the Taliban leadership, as prior to the US-led Air strikes, Taliban had full control of all the areas of Afghanistan.

Owing to being a landlocked country, Afghanistan depends on Pakistan for the trade and supplies. The Peace Process may pave the way for Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) that was bilateral trade agreement signed in 2010 that calls for greater facilitation in the movement of goods between these two countries.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor is yet another trade route that will benefit Afghanistan if the peace agreement reaches between the Taliban and the Afghan Government. 

CPEC is a game changer not only for Pakistan but also for the Central Asian States. The analysts are of the view that CPEC may trigger Hybrid war since it has a very significant geostrategic position that will attract more countries towards it including the OPEC to use the Gawadar Port for transportation of Oil and LPG gas to the South Asian and Central Asian States.

It is imperative that Pakistan and US must work together for regional peace and especially reaching an agreement with the insurgent Taliban leadership so that Peace could be maintained and restored in Afghanistan.

The withdrawal plan for the NATO forces may be chalked out and the refugees’ crisis may be overcome since Pakistan has not been compensated in a real sense despite being overburdened by 1.45 million Afghan Refugees as per recent statistics of UNHCR and UNHCR termed Pakistan as World’s biggest country to host such high number of Refugees.

It is hoped that this change of attitude will benefit both the countries and will improve diplomatic relations and help find out lasting solutions to bring peace in war-torn Afghanistan and repatriation of Afghan refugees.

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Analysis

Mainland Chinese Forces Launch ‘Blockade’ Drills Around Taiwan: A Show of Force or a Warning?

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Introduction

In a move that has sent ripples across the Taiwan Strait, mainland Chinese forces have begun conducting “blockade” drills around Taiwan, just three days after the inauguration of William Lai Ching-te as the new Taiwanese leader. The drills, which involve the PLA army, navy, air force, and rocket forces, are aimed at testing joint combat capabilities and have been seen as a show of force by Beijing. This development comes on the heels of Lai’s first speech as Taiwanese leader, which was met with fury in Beijing. In this article, we will delve into the details of the drills, the context in which they are taking place, and what they might mean for the future of Taiwan-China relations.

The Drills: A Display of Military Might

The drills, which are scheduled to last for two days, are being conducted in the Taiwan Strait and involve a range of military assets, including warships, fighter jets, and missile systems. The exercises are designed to test the PLA’s ability to blockade Taiwan, a move that would effectively cut off the island from the rest of the world. The drills are being seen as a demonstration of the PLA’s military might and its ability to project power in the region.

The Context: Lai’s Inauguration and Beijing’s Fury

The drills come just three days after William Lai Ching-te was inaugurated as the new leader of Taiwan. Lai, who is known for his pro-independence stance, used his inaugural speech to reiterate his commitment to Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy. The speech was met with fury in Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province that must eventually be reunited with the mainland. Lai’s speech was seen as a provocation by Beijing, which has long been wary of Taiwan’s moves towards independence.

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Beijing’s Response: A Warning or a Threat?

The drills can be seen as a response to Lai’s speech and a warning to Taiwan not to pursue its independence agenda. Beijing has long used military exercises as a way to signal its displeasure with Taiwan’s actions, and the current drills are no exception. However, the scale and scope of the exercises suggest that Beijing may be going beyond a simple warning and is instead making a more explicit threat.

Implications for Taiwan-China Relations

The drills have significant implications for Taiwan-China relations, which have been tense for decades. The exercises are a reminder of the military imbalance between Taiwan and China, with the PLA boasting a significantly larger and better-equipped military. The drills also underscore the risks of a military conflict between Taiwan and China, which would have far-reaching consequences for the region and the world.

Regional Reactions

The drills have drawn reactions from across the region, with many countries expressing concern about the escalation of tensions between Taiwan and China. The United States, which has a long-standing commitment to Taiwan’s defence, has been particularly vocal in its criticism of the drills. Japan and South Korea, both of which have their territorial disputes with China, have also expressed concern about the exercises.

Conclusion

The “blockade” drills conducted by mainland Chinese forces around Taiwan are a significant development in the ongoing tensions between Taiwan and China. While the drills can be seen as a show of force by Beijing, they also underscore the risks of a military conflict between the two sides. As the situation continues to evolve, it remains to be seen how Taiwan and China will navigate their complex and often fraught relationship.

Timeline of Events

  • May 20, 2024: William Lai Ching-te is inaugurated as the new leader of Taiwan.
  • May 20, 2024: Lai delivers his inaugural speech, reiterating his commitment to Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy.
  • May 23, 2024: Mainland Chinese forces begin conducting “blockade” drills around Taiwan.
  • May 23, 2024: The drills draw reactions from across the region, with many countries expressing concern about the escalation of tensions between Taiwan and China.
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Key Players

  • William Lai Ching-te: The new leader of Taiwan, known for his pro-independence stance.
  • The People’s Liberation Army (PLA): The military forces of mainland China, which are conducting the “blockade” drills around Taiwan.
  • The United States: A long-standing ally of Taiwan, which has expressed concern about the escalation of tensions between Taiwan and China.
  • Japan and South Korea: Countries in the region that have their own territorial disputes with China and have expressed concern about the exercises.

Key Terms

  • Blockade: A military tactic in which a country’s ports or borders are closed off to prevent the movement of goods or people.
  • Joint combat capabilities: The ability of different branches of the military to work together seamlessly in combat situations.
  • PLA army, navy, air force, and rocket forces: The different branches of the People’s Liberation Army, which are participating in the “blockade” drills around Taiwan.

Sources

  • “Mainland Chinese forces start ‘blockade’ drills around Taiwan 3 days after Lai speech.” South China Morning Post, May 23, 2024.
  • “Taiwan’s new leader William Lai vows to defend democracy and sovereignty.” BBC News, May 20, 2024.
  • “China launches military drills around Taiwan in response to new leader’s inauguration.” The Guardian, May 23, 2024.
  • “US expresses concern over China’s military drills near Taiwan.” Reuters, May 23, 2024.
  • “Japan and South Korea express concern over China’s military drills near Taiwan.” Nikkei Asia, May 23, 2024.
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Analysis

Putin Emphasizes the Crucial role of China in Russian Foreign Policy and Trade.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised China’s role in global politics and its close relationship with Moscow, calling it of “premier importance” in Russian foreign policy. In an interview with Xinhua, Putin commended Beijing’s efforts to maintain regional stability and promote peaceful conflict resolution. He also highlighted the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” between the two countries, which has strengthened significantly in recent years.

The comments come as Putin prepares to visit China for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, where he is expected to discuss trade and economic ties between the two nations. China is Russia’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching a record high of $108 billion in 2018. Both countries have also been working together on major infrastructure projects, including the Belt and Road Initiative and the Northern Sea Route.

Putin’s remarks reflect the growing importance of China in Russian foreign policy, as Moscow seeks to strengthen its ties with Beijing amid strained relations with the West. The two countries share a common interest in challenging US global dominance and promoting a multipolar world order.

Putin’s Praise for China’s Peace Efforts

Putin praises China's peace efforts in an interview, emphasizing its importance in Russian foreign policy and trade

Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised China’s peace efforts in an interview with Xinhua, highlighting the country’s “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” with Russia. Putin commended Beijing’s commitment to resolving global issues through peaceful means, citing its role in the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the Syrian conflict.

Putin also emphasized the importance of the partnership between Russia and China in promoting regional and global stability. He noted that the two countries share similar views on many international issues, including the need to strengthen the role of the United Nations in maintaining peace and security.

The Russian leader’s comments come amid growing tensions between China and the United States, as well as concerns over Beijing’s military expansion in the South China Sea. However, Putin’s remarks suggest that Russia sees China as a key partner in its foreign policy objectives, particularly in the areas of trade and economic cooperation.

Overall, Putin’s praise for China’s peace efforts underscores the importance of the strategic partnership between the two countries, and highlights China’s growing influence in global affairs.

Strategic Partnership Between Russia and China

Putin emphasizes China's significance in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised China’s “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” with Moscow, citing the two countries’ close cooperation in both trade and politics. In an interview with Xinhua, Putin commended Beijing’s efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, and emphasised the importance of China in Russian foreign policy.

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Trade Relations

The trade relationship between Russia and China has grown rapidly over the past decade, with bilateral trade reaching $108 billion in 2020. In recent years, the two countries have signed a number of major agreements to deepen economic ties, including a $400 billion deal to supply Russian natural gas to China over 30 years.

Political Alliances

Beyond economic cooperation, Russia and China have also formed close political alliances in recent years. The two countries have worked together to promote a multipolar world order and to counterbalance what they see as US dominance in global affairs. In addition, Russia and China have strengthened their military ties, conducting joint military exercises and signing a number of defence agreements.

Overall, Putin’s comments reflect the growing importance of China in Russian foreign policy. As the two countries continue to deepen their strategic partnership, it is likely that their cooperation will extend to new areas, including technology, energy, and infrastructure.

China’s Role in Russian Foreign Policy

Putin emphasizes China's pivotal role in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

China has become an important partner for Russia in terms of foreign policy and trade. In an interview with Xinhua, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised China’s efforts to maintain peace and stability in the world. Putin also highlighted the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” between Russia and China, which he believes is a key factor in maintaining global security.

The two countries have been working together on a number of initiatives, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The BRI is a massive infrastructure project that aims to connect China with Europe and other parts of Asia through a network of roads, railways, and ports. Russia has been a key partner in this project, with plans to build a high-speed railway between Moscow and Beijing.

In addition to the BRI, Russia and China have also been working closely together in the SCO, which is a regional security organisation that includes other countries such as India, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan. The two countries have been working together to combat terrorism, extremism, and separatism in the region.

Overall, China’s role in Russian foreign policy has become increasingly important in recent years. The two countries share a common vision for a multipolar world, and their partnership has helped to counterbalance the influence of the United States and other Western countries.

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Future Prospects for Sino-Russian Cooperation

Putin emphasizes China's key role in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

As Putin highlighted in his interview with Xinhua, the strategic partnership between China and Russia has reached an unprecedented level. This partnership has been strengthened by the two countries’ shared commitment to promoting peace and stability in the world.

One area where Sino-Russian cooperation is expected to continue growing is in the field of trade. The two countries have set a target of reaching $200 billion in bilateral trade by 2024, up from $108 billion in 2018. To achieve this goal, both sides have been actively promoting investment and trade in key sectors such as energy, agriculture, and technology.

Another area of cooperation is in the field of international affairs. China and Russia have been working closely together to promote multilateralism and uphold the principles of the UN Charter. They have also been coordinating their efforts to address global challenges such as climate change, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation.

In addition, the two countries have been deepening their cultural and people-to-people exchanges. This has been facilitated by initiatives such as the China-Russia Year of Media Exchange and the China-Russia Youth Friendly Exchange Year.

Overall, the future prospects for Sino-Russian cooperation are promising, as both countries continue to deepen their strategic partnership and work together to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the world.

Implications for International Relations

Putin emphasizes China's significance in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

Putin’s praise for China’s peace efforts and strategic partnership with Russia has significant implications for international relations. The strong relationship between the two countries could potentially shift the balance of power in the world, with China’s growing influence being a key factor.

The strategic partnership between Russia and China has already had an impact on the world stage, with the two countries working together on issues such as Syria and North Korea. This partnership could also have an impact on the global economy, with the two countries working to increase trade and investment.

Furthermore, the partnership between Russia and China could have implications for other countries, particularly those in the West. As Russia and China continue to strengthen their relationship, it could lead to a shift in global alliances and a realignment of power.

Overall, Putin’s comments highlight the growing importance of China in Russian foreign policy and trade. As the two countries continue to work together, the implications for international relations could be significant, potentially leading to a shift in the global balance of power.

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China

Baidu Executive Resigns After Controversial “I’m Not Your Mum” Outburst

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Recently, a senior executive at Baidu, which is China’s most popular search engine, resigned from her position due to a public scandal. The videos that surfaced on social media showed her behaving inappropriately and disrespectfully towards her subordinates, which caused widespread outrage among the public. This incident has triggered a broader discussion about workplace culture and the treatment of employees in China’s tech industry, highlighting the need for better practices and ethical standards.

The executive in question, Wang Zhi, who served as Baidu’s head of public relations, posted several videos on the popular Chinese social media platform Weibo, in which she could be seen reprimanding and mocking her subordinates. In one particularly controversial clip, Wang can be heard saying, “I’m not your mum, so don’t expect me to take care of you like one.”

The videos quickly went viral, with many viewers expressing outrage at Wang’s behavior and the apparent lack of respect she showed towards her employees. The backlash was swift, with many calling for Wang’s resignation and criticizing Baidu for allowing such conduct to occur within the company.

The Resignation and Baidu’s Response

On May 10, 2024, Baidu announced that Wang Zhi had resigned from her position as head of public relations, effective immediately. In a statement released to the media, the company acknowledged the incident and stated that it did not condone the behavior displayed by Wang in the videos.

“Baidu takes this matter very seriously and does not tolerate any form of disrespect or mistreatment of our employees,” the statement read. “We have accepted Ms. Wang’s resignation and will be conducting a thorough review of our internal policies and procedures to ensure that such incidents do not occur in the future.”

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The resignation comes at a time when Baidu, like many other tech companies in China, is facing increased scrutiny over its treatment of employees and workplace culture. In recent years, there have been growing concerns about the long hours, high-pressure environments, and lack of work-life balance that are common in the industry.

The Wider Implications

The Wang Zhi incident has shone a spotlight on these issues and has prompted many to question whether the tech industry in China is doing enough to protect the rights and well-being of its employees. Some have argued that the pressure to perform and the fear of losing one’s job can lead to a culture of fear and intimidation, where employees are afraid to speak up or challenge their superiors.

Others have pointed to the broader societal expectations and cultural norms that may contribute to the problem. In China, there is a strong emphasis on hierarchy and respect for authority, which can make it difficult for employees to challenge their superiors or speak up about mistreatment.

The Need for Change

Despite the challenges, many believe that change is necessary and that the tech industry in China must take steps to address these issues. Some have called for stronger labor laws and better enforcement of existing regulations, while others have argued for a shift in corporate culture and a greater emphasis on employee well-being.

One potential solution that has been proposed is the implementation of more robust employee training and development programs, which could help to foster a more positive and supportive work environment. By investing in their employees and providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed, companies like Baidu could help to create a more engaged and motivated workforce.

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Another key area that needs to be addressed is the issue of work-life balance. Many tech companies in China have been criticized for their long working hours and lack of flexibility, which can take a toll on employees’ mental and physical health. By implementing policies that prioritize work-life balance and provide employees with more support and resources, companies could help to create a more sustainable and healthy work environment.

Conclusion

The resignation of Wang Zhi from Baidu is a significant event that has shone a light on the broader issues facing the tech industry in China. While the company’s swift action in accepting her resignation and promising to review its policies is a positive step, there is still much work to be done to address the underlying problems.

By prioritizing employee well-being, fostering a more positive and supportive work culture, and implementing policies that promote work-life balance, companies like Baidu can help to create a more sustainable and successful tech industry in China. It is a challenge that will require commitment and collaboration from all stakeholders, but one that is essential for the long-term success and well-being of the industry and its employees.

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